Ripon Christian’s Micah English snuck a two-out single between shortstop and third in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday night to plate Eli Terpsma for what proved to be the winning run in a thrilling 6-5 Knights win over Ripon in non-league baseball action at Islanders Field.
“I have been struggling the past few games,” English said. “I went out there thinking single in that last at-bat and I saw a fast ball and I was hunting fast balls because I couldn’t hit the curve ball tonight. I just drove it.”
With Ripon (4-2) leading 5-4 going into the seventh, Grant Sonke (2 for 3, triple, three runs) legged out an infield single to start the final frame for Ripon Christian (3-2). Sonke took second on a passed ball, third on a wild pitch and came home to tie the game on a Jacob Kowes groundout.
Terpsma was up next and appeared to strike out, but the throw to first after a dropped strike three ended up in right field, allowing Terpsma to get to second. After stealing third, Terpsma scored on English’s single.
“This is what my college coach used to call a popcorn ball game,” Knights coach John de Visser said. “You are just sitting there with a bowl of popcorn shoving it in your face for seven innings. In a one-run game like this it’s whoever makes the last play. That’s all it is.
“We got lucky this time. We have preparation and we do our thing but you just have to try and keep it close against a team that good, and then it’s just going to come down to one play. One guy coming through and that’s all we did. We were one play better than them.”
Kowes went 2 for 3 with three RBI, a double and a triple.
“Today I went up with a different mindset,” Kowes said. “I went up with the mindset that I was going to see every pitch I can, I am going to do my best to recognize it early and I am going to drive the ball.
“I just let happen what happened. It happened well tonight and I just hope it keeps going that way.”
Cam Hoffman added an RBI double for Ripon Christian.
The big inning for the Indians was the three-run third. Nate Martinez (run) had an RBI double in the frame and leadoff batter Dawson Downs (2 for 4, two RBI, two runs) added a two-RBI single, plating David Madera and Martinez.
Isaac Sandoval (3 for 4, RBI), Branden Molthen (double, RBI) and Nate Dorn (double) rounded out the Ripon attack.
“I thought our guys hit the ball well tonight,” Indians coach Bobby Swedberg said. “We hit a lot of balls hard that were outs, but that’s baseball.
“We had some big innings, got guys in scoring position and drove them in, but errors in the later innings really killed us. You can’t give a team free bases and extra bases on errors late in games and expect to win. RC competed and we competed and it was a great baseball game. It’s early and we just have to build on it.”
On Friday, The Knights host Escalon at 3:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Ripon hosts Mountain House at Islanders Field.